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Tuesday 10th May 2016

Landlords are thumped again!

It’s not been a great time recently if you’re one of Britain’s army of around two million landlords who, between them, own £1 trillion’s worth of property.

Last year’s crackdown on mortgage interest tax relief, changes to Capital Gains Tax, an increase in stamp duty in April, and a new requirement for landlords to check that their tenants have a right to live in the UK or face a fine of £3,000, have all conspired to add to the pain and the time-consuming paperwork that comes with renting out property.

Also last year, the Deregulation Act 2015 came along, requiring landlords to safeguard tenants’ deposits in a special protection fund and provide them with the necessary information about it.

For tenants who have been renting since April 6 2007, landlords must register the deposit with one of three Government backed schemes or face a fine. For tenants who have been renting before April 6 2007, there is no obligation for the landlords to do this but they would not be able to serve a Section 21 eviction notice to regain possession unless the deposit has been protected.

As Neil Starr of Rundlewalker’s Property Team says, “legislation involving property is always complicated so professional advice is essential. We are happy to offer landlords a range of services including fixed fee consultations.”

He says: “Under the Act, landlords must provide a valid energy performance certificate, a valid annual gas safety certificate and a copy of the Government’s How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England guide, issued at the time the tenancy began or was last renewed.”

There are some exceptions to these new rules. For example, where the landlord is resident in another part of the same property, where the rents are over £100,000 per annum, where properties are leased to companies or Limited Liability Partnerships or student lets where the property is let directly by the specified universities or colleges.

“This is a complicated piece of legislation designed to plug some previous loopholes.”

“If you’re thinking of venturing into the buy-to-let market or have concerns about your existing portfolio, you should seek professional advice. It can be a great way to invest and generate income but these new measures are very much designed to protect the tenant.”

“Getting things wrong could result in a landlord having great difficulty in evicting an unsuitable tenant.”

Despite all the recent red tape and tax implications, Britain’s love affair with buy-to-let is showing no sign of waning. Government figures suggest that 18 per cent of households now rent from private landlords. And that proportion is predicted to increase to one in three properties owned by private landlords by 2032.

Whether you are a landlord currently letting property or you’re considering doing so and you need legal advice, please call or email us now. 

Neil Starr, Director: 01392 209219.

Sam Reid, Solicitor: 01392 209205.

Gemma Lawson, Paralegal: 01392 209202.

Louise Webber, Paralegal: 01392 209204.